Posted on Apr 30, 2012 | Comments (1)
Everyone feels “blue” at certain times during his or her life. In fact, feelings of sadness and discouragement are perfectly normal for everyone, especially people who are dealing with the death of a family member or a sudden change in their lives. People who have recently retired, buried a spouse, or even simply moved to a care home usually feel upset or unhappy for a while. They might feel sad, have no appetite, have trouble sleeping, and think about death often.
Loss is a normal part of aging, whether it is the loss of friends and family, status, or possessions. But have you ever had a senior who seems sad all the time? Maybe she used to like crossword puzzles but now she refuses to even pick up a pencil. Maybe she used to like to talk to people but now she just sits in her room all alone. Many caregivers have aging loved ones who show these signs of grief for months, even years.
Aging loved ones who experience feelings of sadness for three weeks or more may be suffering from the serious illness called clinical depression. Depression is “clinical” when it is more than just transitory feelings of sadness, but instead lasts for longer than a few weeks and causes life changes; clinical depression requires treatment. Clinical depression is a biologically-based brain disorder that negatively affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, and physical health. It is an “affective disorder,” which means that the person experiences changes in mood.
Depression is one of the most common and treatable mental illnesses. On average 11.6 million Americans, including older persons, suffer from this disease. One in four women and one in ten men can expect to be depressed sometime during their lives.
DISCLAIMER: Senior Helpers does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This article is presented for informational purposes only. Depression is a serious condition. Consult your doctor for more information.
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